Home Is Where The Heart Lies.
Until he turned eight, Surjit lived a pleasant life in Jinja, Uganda, playing outside and eating local foods with his siblings and friends. It was difficult for his family to take in the news that they had to leave their country and livelihoods. Following a few intimidating interactions with the army, they rushed away from their homes to seek new lives in the UK.
Although his family were warmly welcomed in their new home, Surjit’s childlike excitement for the ‘trip’ was rather short lived because he understood that his life would be different from then on. His father, demoralised by the recent losses, was unable to provide the same level of financial support, so money was tight. But Surjit and his siblings managed to work hard and learned to support themselves.
Surjit would later suffer from crippling financial troubles. Around the same time, he revisited his old home of Uganda. He realised his love for the country and, without any concrete plan, moved back there. His decision paid off because he has enjoyed over two decades of prosperity and happiness in Jinja, and this has reconciled all of his struggles along the way.
Below is an extract from Surjit’s exhilarating story.
“When I was in my early thirties, I was still living in Leeds. But following the early 1990s recession, I lost my business and my property, and also had a divorce looming. I was broke and a truly lost soul! So in 1996 I decided to visit my sister in Kenya, and during the trip I also revisited Uganda for a week. Something about being back in Uganda spoke to my heart. ‘I think I want to be here’, I said to myself.
I went back to the UK and spent a year saving up. Then I packed a bag and left my home to return to my homeland of Uganda. I still didn’t have much money, though, so I didn’t know what I was going to do or how I was going to survive. It’s funny how I left Uganda broke in 1972 and returned to Uganda broke in 1997!”
We will be releasing contributors’ full stories at a later date, so please stay tuned for them. If you would like to read a full story now, then please see the first five stories posted here on our website.
This is a project by AFFCAD UK to celebrate the 50 year anniversary of the exodus of Ugandan Asians, by collating and archiving the stories of those involved. If you would like to contribute a story, do get in touch here.